Article: Tree of Life shooting

Zachary Kolodny

Precinct 85 Chair


This past Saturday, the Jewish sabbath, there was a shooting in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue which led to the tragic death of 11 people and the injury of six others. This tragic event was the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history. More people were killed than even in the tragic Charleston shooting in 2015.

The shooter was motivated by not only his hatred for Jewish people, but profoundly was motivated by his hatred of immigrants. He was incensed at the great efforts by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) to help refugees. HIAS was originally founded to aid Jewish refugees but today aids all refugees. The lesson behind this shooting is that bigotry and discrimination are connected.

Oftentimes, white nationalists believe that Jews are behind the social justice movements by marginalized groups, as if these marginalized groups are not intelligent and capable to organize themselves. Today, it is George Soros who has taken on the moniker of being the Jew behind these movements. When people accuse Soros of being behind Black Lives Matter and immigrants entering this country, they are engaging in anti-Semitism.

That is why the conspiracy theories spouted out by the right wing, all the way up to President Trump, are so dangerous. Words have consequences. What also has consequences is the lack of gun control. Nobody, especially a dangerous white nationalist, should be able to get their hands on an AR-15. Trump blamed the synagogue for not having their own security without acknowledging the root of the problem–guns run amok. Make no mistake about it, Trump is an anti-Semite. He simply hides behind support for Israel’s policies and the Jews who he surrounds himself with in order to hide his anti-Semitism.

In order to combat this, we need a mass movement of people to stand up against all forms of hatred and bigotry including anti-Semitism, which is too often excluded from these types of discussions. Only then will justice prevail.